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SALT LAKE CITY — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly intensified other public health crises, and perhaps none more than food insecurity. Nearly 15% of U.S. households and nearly 18% percent of households with children reported food insecurity early in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a social media survey conducted by researchers at NYU's School of Global Public Health.
In a move aimed at addressing the issue of both COVID-19 and food insecurity, the Utah Food Bank this week announced that it is the recipient of a $25,000 donation from Bank of America to address food insecurity in Salt Lake City.
"Utah Food Bank is incredibly grateful for our ongoing support from Bank of America. This donation will equate to 111,200 meals for Utahns facing hunger," Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank president and CEO, said in a statement.
In addition to its donation, Bank of America also incentivized its employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in the process.
Brian Moynihan, Bank of America's CEO, had the idea to combine employee health and safety measures with giving back to local communities, said Mori Paulsen, Salt Lake City market president for Bank of America.
"He (Moynihan) thought, 'Here's maybe a way to (incentivize) people to get vaccinated or get their booster shot through the idea of ... if I go do this and record it in our system, I'll be helping our community too with hunger issues,'" Paulsen said. "We know that our communities have really faced issues with respect to hunger, especially over the last couple of years with this pandemic."
Bank of America donated $100 to the Utah Food Bank for each Utah office employee who received a new COVID-19 vaccination shot and registered their vaccination status in the bank's system before the end of January.
"It means a lot to us to be able to help in our communities where we serve. We believe that helping our local communities is part of our responsibility," Paulsen said.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Bank of America has provided approximately $320,000 to nonprofit organizations in Utah in support of hunger relief efforts and Paulsen said they "plan to continue to have a strong partnership" with the Utah Food Bank.
"Partnerships like these are crucial in our ongoing mission of Fighting Hunger Statewide, and we look forward to working with Bank of America in the future," Bott said.
Correction: A previous version incorrectly stated that Bank of America has provided nearly $300,000 to nonprofit organizations in Utah. Bank of America has actually provided approximately $320,000 to nonprofit organizations in Utah.